Living in New York it’s no secret that we eat like kings—every cuisine imaginable is a quick walk or subway ride away so I always find it a little ironic when I crave a nice home-grilled meal or some KC BBQ amidst such culinary greatness. I’ve talked before about the reactions I get when people discover I’m from Kansas City. A majority of people ask a) Do y’all seriously have casino boats on land there? Yes, yes we do. Or b) How’s that BBQ? It’s good. Reeeeeeally good.
One of my friends had a glorious taste of Gates BBQ back in college and is always pestering me to order Gates cross-country. I’m not one to pay $100 or something preposterous in shipping so we came up with the next best option: replicate KC BBQ. (Hill Country, Blue Smoke, Wildwood BBQ and the other NYC BBQ joints are respectable but still leave me unfulfilled.) My co-worker, the Mexican’t is a master of the meat smoker, and often makes Texas or Carolina style BBQ at home. With a little pot-luck spirit, our KC BBQ begins to take shape.
First, meet the guests of honor: Gates and Jack. These are two of the most famous KC BBQ joints so I simply brought some back from home. Absent from this scene is my personal favorite, Hayward’s (those bottles don’t last long in my presence), and Oklahoma Joe’s—the infamous smokehouse in a gas station.
In full BBQ fashion there must be an abundance of food. In fact, elastic sweat pants are recommended because you’ll probably eat more than on Thanksgiving. Thus, we start with some gluttonous appetizers: guac and the best spinach artichoke dip I’ve ever had. The recipe used mandates that the dip cooks in a cutout sourdough bread bowl and then you feast on this bubbly concoction with the toasted sourdough removed from the roll’s center. Let’s just say: these apps don’t suck.
Then the real shindig begins…with cornbread, obviously.
Once again bringing the KC love, I made my mom’s baked beans recipe. Its secret ingredients are brown sugar and polish kielbasa. I thought I accidentally made enough baked beans to single-handedly feed Africa, but I underestimated their tastiness and men’s bottomless stomachs, as there was only a small container left!
Following a more Carolina-style meal we also have homemade Mac ‘N Cheese a la Pioneer Woman. I added fresh breadcrumbs and baked off the top with extra cheese. Yummo.
Most importantly, comes the protein: smoked pulled pork. The Mexican’t smoked this puppy for over 24 hours, which resulted in a tenderness that makes my heart warm just thinking about it. He also brought some of the Carolina vinegar-based BBQ sauce to try with it (not shabby, just not my thang).
Ready for seconds? We sure had some. Though that was probably ill advised because our stomachs couldn’t aptly handle the Crumbs cupcakes that were for dessert! The good news is, cupcakes and BBQ taste great the next day.
NYC, that’s how you do up some KC BBQ.